Peace of Mind 101

Note: This is actually something from the Inspirational Thoughts page of my website It was written over a year ago but, when I re-read it today, I thought how helpful it could be right now… so here it is. Enjoy!

Personal and professional relationships are vehicles we use to learn about ourselves in ways we are unable to explore on our own. Unless we experience our behavior and its consequences through the responses of other people, we lack the gift of reflection that allows us to see ourselves more honestly and more completely. Others are, in essence, our “mirrors” and provide us with a unique and multi-faceted view of ourselves. I’m certain that’s why we are born into a world populated with other human beings.    
However, this gift of reflection, like so many of life’s gifts, is often taken for granted. Too frequently, we ignore the potential benefit of difference and instead pursue the comfort of similarity. Whether it’s an individual or a group of individuals with whom we disagree, our failure to embrace these differences or worse, to fear them, deprives us of the opportunity to learn and grow in new and meaningful ways. Sadly, the early part of the 21st century finds this tendency permeating not only our personal lives, but our national political life and our spiritual lives as well.
Personally, we tend to align ourselves with like-minded people and groups. It’s the rare individual or group enlightened enough to give differing opinions the respect they deserve. Politically, we have become a nation of two camps, Democrat and Republican, each of which has perfected the art of divide and conquer through misuse of both the influence of the media as well as the financial power of large corporations. And finally, spiritually, the world looks increasingly like three locomotives – Jew, Christian and Muslim – all speeding toward a disastrous, head-on collision.

The irony in all of this division and opposition is that every important historical document and every major religious tenet supports and encourages unity. Each one praises and extols the concept of Oneness, not in the sense of a loss of individual identity, but rather in the sense of comprehending the value of our relationships to and with one another. This sense of Oneness has been the aspiration and realization of all great thinkers and leaders throughout the history of humankind.

So why is it so hard for us to hold on to this vital concept of Oneness and how do we change direction and leave the lonely path of separation? The answer is a two-step process that is relatively simple to comprehend and only slightly more difficult to apply.  
First we lessen our dependency upon a media empire that feeds and prospers off of our fears and our need to belong. Television can be not only mind-numbing but also dangerous. It bombards us with at best half-truths and, at worst, lies about who we are, who others are, and what it takes to live prosperous and satisfying lives. It is illusion we reinforce each time we invite it in by tuning in. And, as a culture, we tune it in too often. Print, radio and the internet are not far behind. Each of these mediums is ready and willing to help us define ourselves in ways that allow others to stay prosperous and in control of our lives. So, the first step is to turn inside ourselves and begin to define your life by what your inner voice is saying rather than by the collective voice of countless others.

The second step is to learn how to hear your inner voice. This is the easy part since there’s a “channel” you can access to tune in and receive your own personalized messages. The way to access the channel is prayer. Not prayer as we generally think of it. Not a plea for help during difficult times or a request for fulfillment of your material wants. Rather, prayer as quiet time to go within yourself and listen to what you really want so that you can know what it is you really need to do. Becoming quiet and still is simultaneously the doorway to the path of oneness and best way off the path of separation.

When all the externally imposed, meaningless messages of need are removed, you become able to focus on the true yearning that originates from within. That yearning is the same for every human being. It’s the yearning for Oneness and peace. Personally, I find this quiet place every Sabbath for I am a Jew and the Sabbath is an opening in time for me to go within and listen.
But such a space is available to every human being with or without religious affiliation. To become quiet and go within is to replace the outward illusion with the inner reality. The method is prayer; oneness and peace the vision. Both attainable goals. Simply begin by first turning down (and later turning off) those voices that say they know better than you what it is you truly desire.

Then when it gets quiet, just listen.                     

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